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Three children killed in Miami Co. house fire: Here's how you can help

Posted at 5:13 PM, Feb 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 22:34:15-05

MIAMI COUNTY — The community is coming together to support a family after three kids died after a house fire Saturday in Miami County.

Miracle Gingerich, 6, Steven Gingerich, 5, and Wilma Gingerich, 18 months, died after the fire, Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said.

They were in an upstairs bedroom when their mother, who was downstairs, smelled smoke and called 911, Slocum said. She was unable to get to the children due to the fire.

On Sunday morning, the house rekindled and was deemed a total loss, according to fire officials. The house was later demolished.

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The Maconaquah School Corporation is working with extended family to determine how the corporation and community can best support the family during this time.

A fund has been established through the district to help support the family, according to the school corporation. Contributions can be dropped off at the Maconaquah Administration Building, 7932 South Strawtown Pike, Bunker Hill, IN 46914. Checks should be made to the Maconaquah School Corporation.

Anyone with questions is asked to call the corporate office at 765-689-9131 extension 1100.

Cheryl Molder, a bus driver for Maconaquah School Corporation, shared how close of a relationship Miracle and Steven had.

“Every day the kids would hold hands walking to the bus,” Molder said. “and when they got off the bus they would always hug first. You could hear them tell each other they loved each other often. Miracle was protective of Steven, hurrying him along whenever the bus was at their stop, and always making sure he knew when to get off the bus.”

Counselors will be at Pipe Creek Elementary School this week to help students and staff through the grieving process.

Pipe Creek Preschool Teacher Michele Gahs said that Steven was such a happy boy who made friends easily and always wanted to play with everyone.

“First thing in the morning he would come right to me to give me a hug saying my name,” Gahs said. “This always made me laugh because at the beginning of the year he would always just call me "teacher, teacher".

Gahs also talked about Steven’s most recent accomplishments.

“At the beginning of the year when I would ask Steven to write his name, he would make some scribbles on paper and say he was done," Gahs said. "Recently he had come so far and was able to write all the letters in his name. Then, this past week we were so proud of him because he was able to write his name all by himself.”

Michele said she will miss Steven so very much, and that her classroom will not be the same without him.

You can read the full message from the Maconaquah School Corporation below:

The event that took place this weekend was absolutely heartbreaking for all of those who knew the Gingerich family. It is travesties such as this that really make you lean on your community, and the love and compassion that has been poured over our Maconaquah family and the family and friends of Steven and Miracle has been incredible. We truly appreciate all of the support as we work to find healing for students and staff who have been affected by this loss.

This week, counselors within our corporation will be on campus at Pipe Creek Elementary school as a resource to help walk students and staff through the grieving process. Counselors will be available to meet with students one on one if needed, and will also circulate through classrooms to relieve individuals who might need to process this weekend's events away from a group setting. We encourage parents to reach out to our administrators and counseling staff with any questions, concerns, or guidance on how we might best help your child cope.

At this time, we feel it is very important to give the immediate family time and space to grieve. We have reached out to extended family and are working closely with them to determine how our corporation and community can best help those involved. At this time, we have established a fund for the family of Miracle, Steven, and Wilma, and any person interested in contributing can drop off donations to the Maconaquah Administration Building at 7932 South Strawtown Pike, Bunker Hill, IN 46914. Checks can be made out to Maconaquah School Corporation. We also ask that any questions related to donations be directed to our corporate office at 765-689-9131 ext. 1100.

We sincerely thank each and every one of you for the outpouring of kindness and generosity, and will continue to update our community as information is made available to us.

Higher Ground Fellowship is collecting clothing and toiletries for the family. Anyone who would like to donate items to help the family is asked to message the fellowship on Facebook.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help the family with funeral expenses and basic needs.

The Indiana Region of the American Red Cross is assisting the family with financial assistance and sending a support team to help the family as they recover and heal, LaMar Holiday, communications director for the Red Cross, said.